Report of the Commissioners
General Charities


Edmund Arnold, of Doctors Commons, London, esquire, who died. in, or about the year 1689, by his will, setting forth that he was determined to settle for the future his manor of Furtho, with all the lands, woods and appurtenances thereof (after the decease of him and his wife,) to charitable uses, devised the same and all his estate in Furtho, (saving the advowson of the rectory there,) and elsewhere in the said county of Northampton or Bucks, unto Sir Lionel Jenkins, knight, William Dyer, and Matthew Johnson, esquires, and Thomas Bedford, gentleman, their heirs and assigns, upon trust, that after  the death of him and his wife, they should, out of the rents and profits of the premises pay and deliver, every year for ever, to the uses following, that is to say, £10. per annum for and towards putting out poor children of poor persons apprentice to some honest trades, out of and from the town of Nether Heyford, in the county of Northampton, and towards setting them up as they come out of' their times; £5 per annum towards relief of poor people of the town of Nether Heyford ; £20 per annum for and towards putting out poor children apprentice out of and from the town of Stony Stratford, in the county of Bucks, and towards setting them up as they come out of their times; £5 per annum for and towards the relief of the poor of the town of Stony Stratford; £10 per annum for and towards putting out poor children apprentice out of and from the parish of Saint Giles, Northampton, and towards setting them up when they come out of their times, and £5 per annum towards the relief of the poor of that parish of Saint Giles; £5 per annum towards putting a poor child or children apprentice out of and from the town of Upper Heyford, in the county of Northampton, and towards setting them up; £5 per annum towards putting a poor child or children apprentice out of and from Stowe, viz. Great Stowe or Little Stowe, in the county of Northampton, and towards setting them up; £5 per annum for and towards putting a poor child or children apprentice out of and from the town of Weedon Beck, in the county of Northampton. Item, £20 per annum for and towards maintenance of poor scholars in Merton College, Oxon, to be distributed at the discretion of the wardens and fellows of the same college. Item, further to issue out of the said rents, revenues and profits, he gave, devised and bequeathed £20 per annum for ever, for and towards the support and maintenance of an orthodox minister, to read divine service at least on Sundays forenoon and afternoon, and perform the other divine offices, in one of the churches or chapels in the town of Stony Stratford, the said minister to be from time to time elected by twelve of the substantialest inhabitant housekeepers there, with the assistance and advice of the rectors or ministers of Furtho, Cosgrave, Passenham and Calverton, and none to have voice in the said election but such as were conformable to the orders of the church, and frequenters of the same; and he willed that such poor as participated of his aforesaid bequest should be also conformable and frequenters of their parish church, unless they should be impotent and unable to do so, and he wished that the parents of the poor children aforesaid should be also orderly and conformable. Item, to issue moreover out of the said rents and profits of Furtho, he gave £10 per annum, to be paid to the vicar or curate of Pottersperry, in the said county, towards the increase of his poor stipend or means, hoping that the impropriator there would take into consideration how far he was concerned with the cure of the souls there, and augment that pitiful stipend : such curate or vicar to be orthodox and conformable, and of good life and conversation. Item, he willed that the charges of his trustees from time to time, in their actings about that trust, and of such as should be employed by them, should be defrayed out of the premises.

The testator's widow died in January 1691-2, and by a decree of the court of Chancery, dated 3d July, 6th William and Mary, in a suit by the Attorney-general at the relation of William Hartley against Thomas Arnold and others, it was declared, that it appeared to be the testator's intent, by his will, to dispose of the manor and premises in the will mentioned wholly to charitable uses, and that the words of the will were sufficient to carry the whole estate to that purpose, and it was decreed, that the said estate and the rents and profits thereof should from time to time be applied for charitable uses, and it was referred to the Master to tax the costs therein mentioned, the costs of the defendant Arnold, the heir at law, to be paid him out of the estate, and that he should release to the trustees his claim and interest in the premises, and it was ordered that the £10. given by the will to the vicar or curate of Potterspury, and £20 for the support of a minister of Stony Stratford, should be payable quarterly for the benefit of their executors or administrators in case of their deaths, but that the trustees should not be obliged to pay those, or any of the annuities given by the will but once, or at most twice in the year, and that in the payment of the several annuities and yearly payments, for the relief of the poor, and for putting out apprentices and setting them up, care should be taken that the same be paid and distributed by or by the order of the trustees, or the major number of them, for the support of such curates, vicars and ministers, and the apprenticing such poor people's children, and the relieving such persons only as for their poverty, conformity, probity of life and conversation, and otherwise, should be qualified to partake of the same according to the directions of the will, in the performance whereof the minister, churchwardens or overseers of such towns and parishes might be consulted with, or some or such of them as the trustees should think fit, and that the said payments might be made either to the poor themselves, or to the minister, churchwardens or overseers, or any of them, of the several towns or parishes, whose receipt should be a sufficient discharge to the trustees or their receiver, but as touching the surplus, how the same should be disposed of, the consideration thereof was reserved.

It does not appear that any further proceedings were taken in the suit; or that any directions as to the application of the surplus were subsequently obtained. The manor and estate devised by the will have been conveyed from time to time to new trustees, and they are at present vested in Robert Andrew, esq., John Plomer Clarke, esq., Thomas Reeve Thornton, esq., the Rev. Francis Montgomery, and the Rev. John Lloyd Crawley. Mr. Andrew acts as treasurer. The chanty estate consists the manor of Furtho and a farm there, comprising a house and several closes of land, containing together, according to a survey made in 1765, 274a 3r. 18p., and woodland, containing according to the same survey 10a. 1r. 28p.

Some small parts of the land, in addition to the woodland mentioned in the survey, have been since planted by order of the trustees.
The farm is let to Robert Pittom, as tenant from year to year, at the annual rent of £400, in addition to which the tenant pays a composition of £20 7s. 6d. per annum in lieu of tithes, to which the estate is subject. The land is let for its full annual value. The land-tax has been redeemed with money raised by the sale of timber. In the interval between 1814 and 1820, the farm house and out-buildings were extensively repaired, and for the most part rebuilt, and several of the fields were subdivided and improved at an expense altogether of £1,951 11s. 2½d. which was defrayed from money in the hands of the trustees, arising principally from former sales of timber, and with the produce of a sale of decaying timber sold in 1815, to the amount of £1,007 6s. The estate is at present in very good condition, and the timber standing thereon was valued, in 1821, at the sum of £1,103 19s. 3d.

The rent of the estate, in 1693, was £204 per annum, but subject to the payment by the trustees of the modus of £20 7 s. 6d. and all taxes and levies.

The trustees as lords of the manor receive quit-rents to the amount of £1 11s.10d. per annum, and certain compositions of small amount in lieu of capons, and the estate is liable to the payment of quit-rents to the amount of 8s. 1d. per annum.

In the administration of the charity, it has been the practice of the trustees to pay the several specific annual sums mentioned in the will for the purposes therein declared, and also to pay out of the surplus rents a proportionate advance, by way of addition, to each branch of the charity, excepting the stipends given to the ministers of Stony Stratford and Potterspury, the payments to whom continue at the same rate, as mentioned in the will. By means of the addition made to the several charities which have been thus increased, they are at present four times the amount mentioned in the will.

It appears to us that a proportionate addition to the respective charities mentioned in the will, is such an application of the surplus rents as would, most probably, be directed or confirmed by a court of Equity; but as some doubt may possibly be entertained, whether the ministers at Stony Stratford and Potterspury are not also entitled to the benefit of a rateable advance of their stipends, we have recommended the trustees to take the opinion of counsel upon that point for their guidance.

The boys apprenticed under the charity are chosen on the recommendation of the parish officers of the respective places to which they belong. Apprentices are put out as opportunities occur and the funds allow, and the money applicable to those purposes remains in the hands of the treasurer until demanded.

The sums of money to be distributed among the poor are paid to the parish officers of the respective places, or to some other persons to whom the trustees confide the distribution, and an account is rendered to the trustees of the manner in which the money is disposed of.

A separate account is kept of the sums appropriated to each branch of the charity, and of the application, and a general account is kept by, the treasurer of his receipts and payments, and the accounts are audited once a year, at a meeting of the trustees in the month of October.

It appears by the accounts that the balance in the hands of the treasurer, at the audit on the 30th September 1824, amounted to £288 19s. 10½d. but of this the sum of £240 11s was an accumulation belonging to the charity in Upper Heyford, and other part of the balance was payable for the charities in Stowe and Weedon Beck, the funds being; left in the treasurer's hands until occasion should require their application.
The charges of the trust are a salary or allowance of five guineas a year to the clerk to the trustees, and the expenses of the yearly meeting, which/vary from £4 to £6.